An Introduction to Business Waste Audits in 3 Simple Steps

By Sally O'Brien

Examining your business’s waste can save the environment and save you money, particularly if you also happen to sell scrap metal. A waste audit is a simple way for businesses to identify what the company is throwing away and support the Australian recycling industry. The findings of a waste audit will determine how your business’s waste can be reduced or recycled for additional revenue. To begin working on a better economic and environmental outcome for your business, here’s how to implement a waste audit in three simple steps.  

1. Gather equipment and participants

The first step of conducting a waste audit is to gather the necessary tools and a representative to conduct the audit. For larger office buildings, a waste audit person from each office area can help determine if specific bins are needed for different locations or which spaces require more regular bin emptying. Confirm that all representatives are free to observe the waste gathered in their space to help the business succeed

For the day of the waste audit, you will also need these tools: 

  • Gloves for each volunteer
  • A protective apron for each volunteer
  • Durable tongs for picking up waste
  • A washable tarp and open space 
  • Boxes for sorting waste into categories
  • A scale for weighing each category
  • A document or clipboard for noting findings
  • Additional bins or garbage bags
  • A washing station 

2. Sort the trash into categories

At the end of the week or determined period, gather all the recyclables and garbage that have been collected in the bins from all departments. Each bag of trash will be opened and sorted into categories. Additionally, if you’re recording department-specific data, you might like to sort the waste from each department one at a time.  

Sort the gathered waste into the following categories: 

  • Liquid waste — detergent liquids and polluted water
  • Organic waste — food waste and garden waste
  • Hazardous waste — chemicals and harmful substances
  • Recyclables — paper, cardboard, plastics, electronics (e-waste), scrap metal 
  • Rubbish — items outside of these categories that can’t be recycled 

Once the waste has been sorted into each category and weighed, you should document the findings. This will quantify the necessary bins for each department and if there is any waste being disposed of incorrectly. You may determine that many items that would have previously ended up in landfills, such as e-waste, could instead be sold as scrap metal and recycled to benefit the environment.  

3. Analyse the data

After conducting this waste audit, you may discover that a lot of the waste could have been recycled, particularly if it has metal components. It can also help confirm that your workplace is collecting hazardous waste like chemicals and flammable substances safely and thoughtfully. This data can help you determine which bins are used more often in each department and what recyclable, compostable and biodegradable materials are being incorrectly disposed of by your workers.  

This waste audit can save your business money long-term by implementing better waste management solutions like posters outlining what can be recycled or a designated bin for any scrap metal or e-waste. Depending on the industry, scrap metal that could be sold includes: 

  • Electronics such as old computers and printers
  • Electrical cables
  • Batteries
  • Metal tins and aluminium cans
  • Warehouse steel racking
  • Mounting brackets
  • Metal cubicle partitions
  • Steel chair frames
  • Filing cabinets

By quantifying and finding scrap metal around your business, from smaller batteries to bulky furniture items, you can begin the process of having a regular metal recycling service come to you.  

Are you looking to sell scrap metal in Melbourne?

Metal Men Recycling makes it easy to sell scrap metal. We take all the hard work of sorting and transporting out of the process with our streamlined 24-hour pick up service. We accept all types of scrap metal benefiting your business and the environment.

Whether you’re looking to sell scrap metal or would just like to learn more about our business-to-business metal recycling process, give us a call on 03 5941 6677 or fill out our online contact form today.

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